Maternity and Work

This page was last updated on: 2021-01-23

Maternity Leave

Employment Code Act of 2019 provides for maternity leave of 14 weeks, up from 12 weeks under the Employment Act of 1965. The compulsory post-natal leave is at least 6 weeks. In the event of multiple births, maternity leave can be extended to 18 weeks. A female worker must give a written notice to the employer, along with a medical certificate, of her intention to proceed on maternity leave on a specific date and to return to work on completion of maternity leave.

A female worker who gives birth to a premature child is entitled to extension of maternity leave (beyond 14 weeks) for a period recommended by a medical doctor. A female worker may, immediately on expiry of maternity leave before resuming duties and with the approval of the employer, proceed on sick, annual, compassionate or other leave to which the employee is entitled.

A female worker with one year of continuous service with the same employer is also eligible for 6-week maternity leave after the miscarriage or still birth if she suffers a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or bears a still born child. The miscarriage or still birth shall be duly certified by a medical officer.

Source: §41 of the Employment Code Act, 2019


Maternity leave is fully paid leave for a worker with two years of continuous service with the employer from the date of first engagement or since the last maternity leave taken and a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy. It is funded by the employer with no support from government.

Source: §7 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012); §7 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012); §41(2) of the Employment Code Act, 2019

Free Medical Care

Medical care is available to all citizens in government hospitals at fairly low cost. The Zambian Constitution ensures the availability of adequate maternal and child health care facilities.

No maternity related statutory benefits are provided under labour laws.

Bill of Rights is not part of the 2016 Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act and will be subject to a referendum during the 2016 general elections being held on 11 August 2016. The referendum was held and although 71% of voters voted in favour of the amendments, since the turnout was only 44%, below the 50% threshold required to validate the result, the amended Bill of Rights 2016 could not be approved. Thus, the Bill of Rights contained in 1996 Constitution is still applicable. 

Source: §60(3)(c) of the Draft Bill of Rights 2016

Regulations on Maternity and Work

  • Employment Code Act, 2019
  • Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, 2016/Draft Bill of Rights 2016
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)

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